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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Occurrence of meadow herbs in sown and unsown ploughed strips in cultivated grassland

Published source details

Hovd H. (2008) Occurrence of meadow herbs in sown and unsown ploughed strips in cultivated grassland. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica. Section B, Plant Soil Science, 58, 208-215


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Create uncultivated margins around intensive arable or pasture fields Farmland Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in 2000-2003 of a grass crop field in Norway (Hovd 2008) found that plant species diversity was higher in strips sown with a grass/wildflower mixture than strips left to regenerate naturally or in the grass crop. There were 10-12 plant species/quadrat in four 2 m-wide naturally regenerated strips on average, compared to 17-18 species/quadrat in a strip sown with grass and flower mixture, and 7-9 species/quadrat in a control strip of the main grass crop. Naturally regenerated strips were dominated by grasses and perennial weeds. Four strips (2 m wide) were ploughed, perpendicular to an existing semi-natural margin, in May 2000. One half of each was left to regenerate naturally, the other half was sown with a grass/meadow flower (22 species) seed mixture. Sown strips did not receive fertilizer and were cut once (late September). Permanent quadrats (0.5 x 0.5 m) were sampled in the grass crop and strips in June 2000-2003.

Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips Farmland Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in 2000-2003 in Norway (Hovd 2008) found that plant species diversity was higher in strips sown with a grass/wildflower mixture than strips left to regenerate naturally or in the grass crop. The number of plant species was significantly higher in sown grass/wildflower strips (17-18 species/quadrat) than naturally regenerated strips (10-12 spp.) or the grass crop (7-9 spp.). The same was true for the number of meadow herbs (sown: 7-10 species, unsown: 1-3 spp., crop: 1 spp./quadrat). Plant diversity (Shannon diversity index) was also significantly higher in sown grass/wildflower strips than in either naturally regenerated margins or in the crop (sown: 1.8-1.9, unsown: 1.3-1.6, crop: 1.0-1.3). Four of the 22 sown meadow wildflower species did not establish. Naturally regenerated strips and the grass crop had many species in common by the fourth study year, and grasses and perennial weeds dominated in the crop and unsown strips. By the fourth year some sown species were recorded in the unsown strips or grass crop and woody species from an existing semi-natural margin were recorded in the sown strips. The total number of plant species did not vary with distance from the existing margin. Four strips (2 m-wide) were ploughed perpendicular to an existing semi-natural margin, in May 2000. One half of each was left to regenerate naturally, the other half was sown with a grass/meadow wildflower (22 species) seed mixture (5 g/m²). Wildflower seeds were local to the area, grass seeds were cultivated varieties. Sown strips did not receive fertilizer and were cut once (late September). Permanent quadrats (0.5 x 0.5 m) were sampled in the grass crop and strips in June 2000-2003.